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Post date: November 7 2001

Statement Regarding New York's Decision In The

I am pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement with Microsoft Corporation that will generate a more competitive marketplace for New York consumers and businesses.

In these times of unsettled national economic conditions and the need for responsiveness in a rapidly changing sector of the industry, I believe this settlement is a step forward and in the best interest of the public. Therefore, we support its approval by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

After lengthy negotiations on Monday that extended well past midnight, Microsoft has agreed to strengthen the proposed decree arrived at with the Department of Justice in the following ways:

  • Disclose communication protocols – the way in which two computers interface – that govern Microsoft server products in addition to the Windows 2000 server product. This would allow network server companies to make their products compatible with the Windows operating system;
  • Disclose certain protocols used by computer network administrators who are managing large computer networks. Previously, Microsoft may have been allowed to withhold information that companies needed to make their products compatible with Windows;
  • Expand the category of software vendors protected by the proposed decree. Software vendors who do not write software for Windows will be able to produce products that are more compatible with the Windows operating system;
  • Further clarify a provision of the decree permitting PC manufacturers to display non-Microsoft products on the computers they manufacture; and
  • Prevent Microsoft from concealing certain information that is necessary to the marketplace under the guise that the information would compromise the security of computer systems.

As outlined above, the Microsoft settlement includes prohibitions against anti-competitive practices by the company, and will require Microsoft to disclose significant technical information that will enable middleware to develop, and that will help non-Microsoft servers to communicate with personal computers using Microsoft’s monopoly operating system products.

The settlement also includes an unprecedented on-site mechanism – the Technical
Committee – for enforcement and compliance, which was negotiated by DOJ and New York officials. The Committee will have broad powers to ensure, under the supervision of federal and state antitrust enforcers, that the provisions of the settlement are implemented and enforced in the changing circumstances of a dynamic business environment. And, we look forward to working with DOJ and the other states towards the goal of re-establishing competitive conditions in the industry.

In the end, this case was about one thing – ensuring that the fundamental rules of fair play that are embodied in antitrust law are upheld in developing as well as established industries.

My commitment to protecting competition and consumer interests in this vital sector of our nation’s economy is undiminished. I believe that the need to give consumers and
industry participants a meaningful remedy in the foreseeable future outweighs the uncertainties and delay of continued litigation.